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Leading Off

Aug. 04, 2014
Aug. 04, 2014

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Aug. 4, 2014

COWBOY CHRISTMAS
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Leading Off

PHOTOPHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRISTOPHE ENA APBetween Rocks And a Hard Chase The 16th stage of the Tour de France—a 147.6-mile race from Carcassonne to Bagn√®res-de-Luchon—passed through a cave in the Ari√®ge Pyrénées on July 22. Five days later on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Vincenzo Nibali (inset) of the Astana Pro Team celebrated winning the Tour, which he led for 19 of 21 stages. Nibali, 29, is the first Italian champion since 1998 and the first rider since Eddy Merckx in '74 to take four non-time-trial stages.PHOTOBRYN LENNON GETTY IMAGES[See caption above]PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY ANDY LYONS GETTY IMAGESBuss Stop Jeff Gordon kissed the start-finish line at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday to commemorate his record fifth victory at NASCAR's Brickyard 400. Gordon's win came eight days before his 43rd birthday and 20 years after he took the race's inaugural checkered flag. The leader in the Sprint Cup Series standings for 13 of the last 14 weeks, Gordon is tied with Formula One driver Michael Schumacher for the most victories at Indy.PHOTOPHOTOGRAPH BY GEOFF BURKE USA TODAY SPORTSQuantum Leap Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) showed just how far he's come—and how buoyant he's feeling—last Friday in Richmond, celebrating a training camp highlight with fullback Darrel Young. Bothered by a right-knee injury throughout last season after undergoing surgery to repair his ACL and LCL, RG3 has shed his bulky knee brace. He is also excited about Jay Gruden, Mike Shanahan's replacement as coach. Shanahan benched Griffin for the last three games of 2013.